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Birds & bones on PBS

Two nova documentaries, reviewed.


1.bird brains.

MODERN THOUGHT HAS tended to minimize differences between the mentality of humans and that of species regarded historically as belonging to the “lower” creation. This may have been in some measure a consequence of all-men-are-created-equal, democratic thinking spilling over into the study of species. Continue reading “Birds & bones on PBS” »

From the Brooklyn-Queens Border, 22 April-17 May 2020.




Prefatory note: When I wrote the text below in May 2020, I offered it to publications that had previously supported me. None of them accepted it.  As some of my observations have since gained wider acceptance, I offer it now, under the implicit assumption of understanding how obvious now seem conclusions that were unacceptable then. Continue reading “From the Brooklyn-Queens Border, 22 April-17 May 2020.” »

Conformity, censorship and oppression.

From GLENN GREENWALD ·[]· — There are times when powers of repression and censorship are aimed more at the left and times when they are aimed more at the right, but it is neither inherently a left-wing nor a right-wing tactic. It is a ruling class tactic, and it will be deployed against anyone perceived to be a dissident to ruling class interests and orthodoxies no matter where on the ideological spectrum they reside… Continue reading “Conformity, censorship and oppression.” »

Against Pound.




Here is a partial list of some of the things I do not know much about. Continue reading “Against Pound.” »

Making sense of the coronavirus.


COVID-19 CAN be a very nasty illness. A friend of mine died from it two weeks ago. Possibly her lungs were not strong; she used to smoke and had suffered from lung cancer. It is still a shock. Continue reading “Making sense of the coronavirus.” »

There are more than 170,000 words in the English language.

From DAVID P. BARASH [Wall Street Journal] – ‘Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., is one of our most distinguished Woggle-Bugs, a physician and sociologist, director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, where he is Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science, Internal Medicine and Biomedical Engineering. Continue reading “There are more than 170,000 words in the English language.” »

The flowering of cheap gumshoe journalism in America.

By MATTHEW WALTHER [The Week] — The quantity of information about people on the internet and various media archives is virtually unlimited. It is also more or less accessible, if you want it to be. It is now possible to bring to bear upon such pressing questions as the relative wokeness of extemporized comic routines performed by various cable news anchors between the year Green Day released American Idiot and the appearance of the first Vox explainer on Pizza Rat the sort of scrutiny once applied only to mainstream presidential candidates. Continue reading “The flowering of cheap gumshoe journalism in America.” »

Butchering the language in Rwanda.


DO NOT MESS with the French language. At the quai d’Orsay, diplomats consider the zealous defense of their tongue a cornerstone of their mission. Among all the markers of culture and nationhood — food, music, religion, literature, even forms of government — the people of France hold up their particular dialect of Latin as the supreme valuation of what it means to be French, especially outside the hexagon of the home country. Continue reading “Butchering the language in Rwanda.” »

A respectable case for Brexit.


MY REMAINER FRIENDS complain bitterly about Brexit, about how the public were deceived by the Brexiteers, but there is a perfectly respectable case for wanting to leave the EU, one that is not nasty nor xenophobic.
Continue reading “A respectable case for Brexit.” »

The meaning of a match: Les Herbiers vs PSG, 08.05.18.

By JAKE SANDY [Onside View]—In a story that sounds like the plot of a Hollywood film, Les Herbiers VF, a French third division team have set-up a Coupe de France final tie against the footballing behemoth that is Paris Saint-GermainContinue reading “The meaning of a match: Les Herbiers vs PSG, 08.05.18.” »

Has Jeffrey Goldberg made ‘The Atlantic’ a ‘safe space’?

By JACK SHAFFER [Politico] —Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg climbed out on a limb last month to add conservative fire-breather and Never Trumper Kevin D. Williamson of National Review to join his growing staff. On Thursday, Goldberg retreated to a safe place near the trunk and proceeded to saw off the branch, casting Williamson down to the ignominy of unemployment. Continue reading “Has Jeffrey Goldberg made ‘The Atlantic’ a ‘safe space’?” »

The E.U.’s rule of law.

CN150excerptBy DANIEL HANNAN [New Criterion] — The rule of law is regularly set aside when it stands in the way of what Brussels élites want. To cite only the most recent example, the eurozone bailouts were patently illegal. Article 125 of the E.U. Treaty is unequivocal: Continue reading “The E.U.’s rule of law.” »

While you were watching ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Downton’…

By JURICA DUJMOVIC [Marketwatch]—A study by Verve Search, an SEO and content agency, sheds new light on the phenomenon of eSports, as competitive gaming is called. Did you know that the League of Legends (multiplayer online battle arena/MOBA) final drew in more viewers than the last game of the 2016 NBA Finals (36 million vs 31 million)? Or that the total eSports prize pool exceeds $93 million? Continue reading “While you were watching ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Downton’…” »

Elmore Leonard v James Joyce!

By BEN BLATT [Publishers Weekly] — There is a lot of writing advice out there. But it’s hard to test, and it’s often best to judge someone not by what they say but what they do. Novelists may tell their adoring fans to do one thing, but do they actually follow their own advice? With data, we can find out—looking at everything from the overuse of adverbs to Strunk and White’s advice against qualifiers like “very” or “pretty.” Continue reading “Elmore Leonard v James Joyce!” »

The incompetent character in charge of decline.

By BRET STEPHENS [Wall Street Journal] — No presidency is ever about nothing. And the something that the Trump administration is fast becoming about is its own paranoia, incompetence and recklessness, all playing out in vertigo-inducing ways… Continue reading “The incompetent character in charge of decline.” »